Plant physiology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Aim of the course is to analyze and study in detail the main physiological processes of plants, particularly with respect to water and nutrient acquisition, to the bioenergetic, molecular and regulatory features of photosynthesis and to the hormonal control of growth and development.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge of the basic physiological processes of plants and their interaction with the environment.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Teaching methods
The lessons will take place on Microsoft Teams in synchronous mode, at the set times. Information on how to access the Microsoft Teams lessons and other teaching instructions will be uploaded to the course's ARIEL website: it is recommended to consult it regularly. Should it be possible to carry out activities in the classroom, taking into account the evolution of the epidemic and compliance with the relevant regulations, students will be promptly informed through ARIEL.

Programme and reference material
The course programme is unchanged. The reference materials are unchanged.

Learning verification and evaluation criteria
The learning verification methods and assessment criteria will not be changed, it being understood that the oral examination will take place in the presence or through Microsoft Teams depending on the guidelines in force at the time of the appeal.
Course syllabus
-Water and plant cells: structure and properties of water; water transport processes: general issues; osmotic behaviour of the plant cell; water potential and its components. Ways to measure water potential.
-Long-distance water transport: capillarity, root pressure, tension-cohesion measurements. Xylem structure and function. Xylem cavitation. Transpiration. Water absorption by roots: water transport in the soil and the root. Hydraulic architecture and soil-plant-atmosphere continuum.
-Mineral nutrition: essential elements, nutrients function and deficiency symptoms.
-Root, soil and nutrient absorption: soil ion exchange capacity; ion absorption by roots: transport mechanisms, radial movement of ions. Ion movement in soil. Plant adaptation to toxic elements. Phytoremediation.
-Bioenergetics and ATP synthesis.
-Elements of photobiology: chlorophyll excitation and excited state decay; measurement of photosynthetic active radiation; the leaf as photosynthetic organ; stomata and gas exchanges; the chloroplast and the thylakoidal reactions; antenna, photosystems and reaction center; the "Z" scheme and photosynthetic electron transport; ATP synthase.
-Calvin cycle, photorespiration, C4 and CAM metabolism. Metabolism of starch and sucrose.
- Physiological and environmental aspects of photosynthesis: light, temperature and CO2 (light and CO2 compensation points); mechanisms of excess excitation energy dissipation and photoinhibition; responses to temperature). Comparison between C3 and C4 plants. CAM plants.
-Translocation of photoassimilates in phloem; allocation and partitioning of photosynthates.
-Stomatal movements and their regulation by environmental and hormonal (ABA) factors.
-Hormonal control of physiological processes: auxin (growth by cell expansion, phototropism, gravitropism); gibberellins (stem elongation and seed germination), abscisic acid (seed maturation), ethylene.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of biochemistry and plant cytology and anatomy.
Teaching methods
The course will take place in the form of lectures supported by powerpoint presentations, subsequently made available to students. Lecture attendance is strongly suggested.
Teaching Resources
- Taiz/Zeiger/Moller/Murphy - Fundamentals of Plant Physiology - Sinauer, 2018
- Hopkins/Huner - Introduction to plant physiology, 4th edition - Wiley, 2008
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of, according to the preferences of the student, either an oral discussion stemming form questions posed to the student, or a written essay in the form of open answers, with a maximum allotted time of two hours. In either case, the exam will concern subjects dealt with during the lectures; in particular, a part will allow the verification of the knowledge of physiological processes at different organization levels of the plant, the other the involvement of these processes in plant-environment interactions. The final grade will be determined by the degree of attainment of the expected learning results, according to the following criteria: the skill of critically organizing knowledge; synthetic and analytic skills; expression and language command.
BIO/04 - PLANT PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Olivari Claudio